Moving is already a difficult task, and it doesn’t need to be made more difficult by unethical people or companies trying to come along and take advantage of you. Yet, sadly, it happens. In order to protect yourself from these scams, it’s important to become aware of them, and follow a few tips in order to avoid being taken it by these “lowlifes”.
First let’s familiarize you with 3 common moving scams people try to get away with. The first is A Change In Charges. If you’re being offered a sweetheart of a deal, beware. A lot of times these movers will try to lure you in with a insanely low estimate, only later to turn around and double or triple charges after your shipping boxes are loaded and in their possession. They then will hold your things “hostage” until you pay their new bill.
The second scam is Invented Charges. This is when new clauses are added to the contract after you’ve already agreed to the terms. These clauses could include new driver fees, or for extra time required, or a number of any other things. Anytime this occurs, when things are added into your contract, after you’ve already agreed to the original terms, you’re probably dealing with a scam.
The third scam is The Bait and Switch. This is when the original estimate is based on one measurement or inventory of your belongings, but when the bill actually arrives you’re informed that your shipping boxes and other goods somehow exceed the original estimate. Even though, it was never part of the original estimate. Again, your belongings are help, until you agree to pay the new terms.
So, now the question is how do you protect yourself from these scams? Well, here are four tips that can help.
- Don’t Sign a partial or “skinny” contract
Never sign a blank or incomplete contract with assurance that they’ll “fill out the details later”. Everything should be spelled our ahead of time. From the guaranteed price, to the delivery date, to the necessary supplies needed on your end, to a complete list of your shipping list, no stone should be left unturned nor should there be any questions in the contract.
- Never put your furniture in an unmarked truck
If the moving company is on the up and up, they’ll have their trucks clearly marked. Their paperwork will have the company logo, and the movers themselves will either be in uniform or can clearly identify with the company you hired. Every part of your move should be traceable, including the truck.
- Don’t pay cash
In fact, the only cash that should ever exchange hands during your moving process is when you tip the movers. Otherwise you have no way to track or prove if you’ve paid. When you pay cash, you increase the risk of your items of being held “hostage” or disappearing altogether.
- Do your background research
As basic and simple as this seems, this step is incredibly important. It’s here where you can read reviews, find actual physical locations, and find a truly reputable moving company. Make sure as you search, they are recognized online, have positive reviews, and are in good standing.
Bad things happen to the best of us. But by taking these precautions and becoming aware of the scams out there, you can protect you, your family, and your shipping boxes from falling victim to yet another scam.